Being a law enforcement officer is a difficult and often times thankless job. Police officers are at risk countless times throughout the day while conducting their job duties, a potentially life-threatening situation can arise at any moment with no warning what-so-ever, because of this they have to be prepared for all possible scenarios with every encounter.

They are not highly paid, for a job at any given moment may cause them to pay the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty. The men and women who choose to put on the uniform to “serve and protect,” are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts.

The great Paul Harvey once said, “A policeman must be a minister, social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy and a gentleman. And, of course, he will have to be a genius, for he will have to feed a family on a policeman’s salary.”

However, they are still not infallible and they are most definitely not absolved from criticism, especially when that criticism is warranted. Much like it appears, upon an admittedly quick review, may be the case in two separate police involved shooting deaths this week in Louisiana and Minnesota. In both of those situations, the law enforcement officers were white and the shooting victims were black.

The first of the two incidents that occurred this week was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 37-year-old Alton Sterling, was standing in the parking lot of the Triple S Food Mart, selling CDs, something he had done for years, with permission of the store’s owner.

alton-sterling

Alton Sterling

According to a “source with knowledge of the investigation” CNN reports that at some point in the evening on Tuesday, Sterling was approached by a homeless man asking for money.

The man was persistent, and Sterling showed him his gun, the source said.

“I told you to leave me alone,” Sterling told the man, according to the source

The homeless man then used his cell phone to call 911, the source said.

The details about the 911 call shed new light into the Baton Rouge police’s high-profile fatal shooting of Sterling, a 37-year-old black man.

A graphic cell phone video of the shooting was shared widely on social media, quickly sparking local protests and drawing national attention. Federal authorities have taken charge of the investigation. Read More…

In the grainy first video that was released to social media Tuesday evening, Alton Sterling was seen being wrestled to the ground by two officers, someone can be heard shouting, “He’s got a gun! Gun!” One of the officers then holds a gun over Sterling. Soon after, multiple shots are heard.

A second video obtained by The Advocate, emerged Wednesday evening, also captured on a cellphone, but from a different angle.

Before you hit play, be warned, that it is violent and graphic.

After watching both the original video and then the second video posted above, I don’t know if I am ready to say that it was cold-blooded murder, but there is no doubt in my mind that Alton Sterling would be alive if not for the actions of those two police officers.

The second incident this week occurred Wednesday evening in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, where 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed after being pulled over for a busted taillight. Much like the previous shooting in Louisiana, this one two was captured on a cellphone and shared to social media.

philando-castilo

Philando Castile

Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, the passenger in the vehicle, live streamed the incident on Facebook, starting from the point after the shooting took place.

What we saw in the video was a remarkably calm & composed woman watching her boyfriend as he bleed out. We saw a police officer, weapon still drawn and pointed at the dying man, shouting and swearing and not keeping his cool.

Stephen Green, aka Vodkapundit, had an interesting breakdown, on his thought of the video, which I tend to agree with.

When you are legally carrying, you refer to your pistol as a “firearm” so as not to alarm the police when you inform them that you are carrying, and to indicate that you have received proper training. The word “firearm” is supposed to help put the officer at ease in a tense situation.

Throughout the video, Reynolds refers to Castile’s pistol as a firearm. That might be a small detail, but it is a compelling one. Reynolds kept her calm and used the proper language in a life and death situation. I’m inclined to believe then that she has had some kind of firearms training. When she says at the start of the video that “He’s licensed to carry, he was trying to get out his ID,” I’m inclined to believe that, too.

What the video doesn’t show is how Castile was pulling out his license. Was he as cool and calm as Reynolds? Was he moving quickly? Had he used the word “gun” or “weapon” when telling the police officer that he was carrying? Was he following instructions? Were those instructions lawful?

We just don’t know, but there are some things we may reasonably conjecture — subject, of course, to whatever new evidence may come out later.

According to Reynolds in the video, Castile had “never been in jail, anything. He’s not a gang member, anything.” Add that to the calm, good sense, and tactical knowledge demonstrated by Reynolds, and my inclination is to believe that Castile’s behavior during the initial phase of the traffic stop was also lawful and proper. Read More…

I agree with those sentiments, we don’t know what happened before the video started rolling, however based solely off Reynolds’ actions and demeanor in the video, I tend to believe that Castile would be alive today if not for the actions of that police officer.

In a press conference today Reynolds shed more light on the incident.

“I’m the woman who recorded the video,” said Reynolds, referring to the footage she streamed last night on Facebook Live, in which Castile could be seen bleeding through his shirt while Reynolds’s young daughter looks on from the back of the car and a police officer stands over Castile with his gun drawn.

“We got pulled over for what allegedly was supposed to be a broken taillight,” Reynolds said. “[The police officer] let us know that we had a broken taillight. He asked us, were we aware of it and we said no. As we said no, he tells us to put our hands in the air.”

According to Reynolds, she and Castile complied with the order, at which point the officer at the driver’s side window asked Castile for his license and registration.

“My boyfriend carries all his information in a thick wallet in his right side back pocket,” Reynolds said. “As he’s reaching for his back pocket wallet he lets the officer know, ‘Officer, I have a firearm on me.’ I begin to yell, ‘But he’s licensed to carry.’ ” According to Reynolds, the officer started firing shortly after.

According to Castile’s uncle, Castile died of his wounds around 9:30 p.m. at the hospital where he was taken after the shooting. According to Reynolds, “nobody checked his pulse” in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

Instead, Reynolds said, she was placed in the back of a police car as other officers “soothed” the officer who fired on Castile. “They pulled him over to the side and they began to calm him down and tell him that it was OK and he would get through this,” Reynolds said. Read More…

Philando Castile, a law-abiding and legally licensed concealed carry permit holder who was exercising his God-given 2nd Amendment rights is dead because of the petty law enforcement of a busted tail light. I apologize if that sounds like hyperbole, but it is the truth. A busted out tail light is the excuse that the officer had to stop Castile and begin an interaction during which some point something happened that made him uncomfortable or nervous. Was it Castile’s skin color? I don’t know, I’m not going to begin to question what is inside the heart of a man, especially with limited evidence.

I’m not going to go the “Trumpservative” route and say that all cops are great and Alton Sterling & Philando Castile have criminal records. I’m also not going to go all “social justice warrior” and say that cops are evil and are systematically targeting black men.

The truth is somewhere in between.

Shame on anyone who calls themselves a liberty-loving Constitutional Conservative and is not absolutely outraged at the total denial of the civil liberties of these two men. It doesn’t matter what their skin color, gender or sexual orientations were. They are both dead because their Civil Rights were violated and anyone who refuses to see that is blinded by hatred, bigotry or stupidity.

A lot of people are angry, and rightfully so. I don’t know what the answers are, I just hope that we are able to find it.